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Mid April the Hollywood of India was on our visiting list. We went without concrete plans, just to escape Chennai for a few days. After traveling to Mumbai (or Bombay) I have realized that probably while I am in India I will never have any trip (or day) without unforeseen incidents. My life was filled with random moments even before my arrival, but here everything was multiplied by at least ten. Yes, I had moments of despair, but now I believe ultimately the lesson is about learning how to handle obstacles without becoming desperate. Peaceful moments in Mumbai The challenges started with our departure from Chennai, when Karyati, my friend from Indonesia, caught the flight only by miracle. That was the moment when I've become sure that time can be both expanded and narrowed.  Arrival of a train in Mumbai But after this early-morning stress, the flight itself was a blessing. When we have arrived, around 7 am to Mumbai, the friends whom we were supposed to meet
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Touching the tea leaves with my henna painted hand Today as I was searching for incense sticks in my luggage where I am keeping the souvenirs I've bought so far in India for my loved ones, suddenly the intense smell of black tea struck me and took me back to moments I have experienced in one of the most magnificent places I have ever been to: Munnar. And because it is May, I am missing home; when landscapes in Transylvania become green and verdant; when trees blossom and I feel alive; it is my favorite month. Munnar was like a dream of lush green art, a place where elephants could play hide and seek amongst the trees, where you can get lost and forget your problems, your life or who you are. Some might say it is just a regular hill station, but for me it wasn't. It was the last trip for my flatmate, Ferhan before she left India. I went not just to accompany her, but to clean my mind from the crowd, the noises and the dirtiness of the city. First time on a sleeper b


The one and only family trip to remember Karyati, Zu Lien, me and Ferhan in Tirupati


Prologue On the plane from Abu Dhabi to Chennai I was sitting near an Indian woman who was traveling with her daughter of only a few months. She was from Delhi, but for the past few years they have been living in the Netherlands. When I told her that I am going to live in South India for the next 6 months she said: I don’t want to discourage you, but I think you will have a hard time. Because of food. Mainly. The tender coconut lovers Even without this comment, I was concerned about the food (even though I went to a few Indian restaurants before in my life). Everybody was warning me that it will be way tooooo spicy for me. And that I’ll have to be careful what I eat. Because food is not as hygienic as the one I am used to. But still, I wasn’t feeling discouraged. When I was 14 I became a vegetarian in a town where being one had no culture. I got a lot of criticism and warnings when I’ve changed my diet. Like “you will get sick”, “you can’t survive without meat”, “w


I discovered Auroville a few weeks before my arrival to Chennai and I was pretty excited about this spiritual township concept. I was like woooow,  in this place people from 49 nations  live 😮 Ganesha temple in Pondicherry Since I was 14 I've had an interest in yoga, spirituality, Buddhism and Hinduism so I thought Auroville is a must-visit place but it didn’t even cross my mind that it will be the destination of my first trip. With Puducherry (Pondicherry, Pondichéry or simply Pondy)  it was love at first hearing. I mean I really loved from the beginning how the name of this place sounded and my fondness for cherries wasn't the single reason; this "small" (in Indian terms) coastal city basically represents a blend of French colonial and Indian culture and I love when cultures are mixed. 💜 For example you'll find both a Jeanne D'Arc and a Mahatma Gandhi statue, a Rue Romain Rolland and a Nehru street, a Notre Dame des Anges church and


This post is in praise of spontaneity. I have heard a lot of pros but much more contras against traveling alone. A bunch of people said they could never imagine going on a trip just by themselves. And everybody advised me not to travel alone in India, as it is very dangerous for a woman. "Safety first." But on the second weekend after my arrival to Chennai I had 4 days off. And everybody I met in the first days had plans already. So I had to choose between staying home or traveling alone. I didn't hesitate too much when I decided on the latter. As for me traveling alone is exciting; it is a road for self discovery and a way to become more aware of my thoughts and reactions. Plus I really love that I can do whatever I want with my time and do whatever spontaneous things cross my mind. Thursday morning I started off to the closest bus station without knowing exactly how will I get there. But - maybe because I haven't really thought about the options - everythin


One of the best-known stereotypes about India is related to its traffic. And I have to admit that even after more than two months of continuous stay in the country is hard to describe what it is like.  At the beginning whenever my relatives and friends from home asked me about it, I simply said that I don’t have yet the words that can illustrate it. Challenge #1: Crossing the street On my first day I was standing for about 5 minutes on a street corner, looking at the flow of cars, buses, rickshaws, bikes and feeling paralyzed. I was unable to cross despite the fact that I was standing at a passageway. Nobody stopped. Then a local helped me and taught me that: here you just have to be brave enough to raise your hand, start crossing the street and stop the traffic (and maybe pray - if you are religious). Traffic in India is indeed chaotic and hectic. There are just a few general traffic rules - like most vehicles will stop at the signaling lamp